Draghi Bazooka

Mike Bird, Business Insider, AP Photo/Jens Meyer, REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Rocket launcher, or peashooter?

The European Central Bank (ECB) is the main event in global markets this week, and we’ll get the last announcement from them at 12:45 p.m. GMT (7:45 a.m. ET).

45 minutes after that, ECB President Mario Draghi will step up to take questions from the press — that could be pretty crucial. At the January meeting when the quantitative easing (QE) programme was announced, the scale of the scheme was only revealed when Draghi sat down.

Since October, Draghi and other ECB governing council member have been dropping hints about more easing to come.

It could come in the form of a deposit rate cut, or in the form of more quantitative easing (QE). Here’s a longer breakdown of what the ECB might do here.

The short story is that eurozone inflation has remained close to zero and growth this year has been modest at best. The once-reluctant ECB is now ready to spring into action, and markets are expecting a move.

Here’s what researchers at ABN AMRO listed as the major potential outcomes. The ECB could meet, beat or fall below expectations — if it beats or misses what markets are expecting, there could be a major reaction:

ECB predictions

ABN AMRO

A bigger-than-expected package might send the euro south against the dollar, while a disappointment might cause it to strengthen. Goldman Sachs is one of a number of institutions expecting the single currency to drop to parity with the dollar by the end of December, from 1.056 at the moment.

We’ll update this post as the decision comes out, and as the press conference begins. Stay tuned.

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